ARTIST FEATURE: From playing with Kamasi Washington, Van Dyke Parks, Gaby Moreno, and Miroslav Tadic, to composing, singing and teaching, meet Yvette Cornelia Holzwarth, a talented musician from Los Angeles! We are thrilled that she decided to join us for this week’s artist feature!

1) Why is rhythm important?

Rhythm emerges from our brains trying to organize sound in time. I think it is essential to understand rhythm whether you are making groove-based music or performing music that stretches and plays with time in a rubato manner. It’s foundational to how we move our bodies, speak, experience time, and of course, make music.

2) How do you practice your rhythm and sense of time?

We all have our own idiosyncratic perceptions of time (which also changes depending on our moods). When practicing alone, a metronome is a useful tool to stabilize my “clock.” Having this solid footing makes it much easier to play with other people. Eventually though, practicing in real time with other people has really helped me develop a natural feel of rhythm and, for me, is the most rewarding!

Rhythm emerges from our brains trying to organize sound in time!

3) What are your favorite rhythmic exercises?

I love doing very basic exercises to connect my internal sense of time with motor coordination on my instrument. This probably applies more to instruments like the violin where there can be a little “latency” between when you start your movement and when the string speaks, for example. I’ll put on a beat and then I’ll practice short articulate bow strokes — focusing on the attack of the note and compensating for any lag. I’ll do this in different parts of the bow and with different articulations. The goal is to make using the bow as reliable as using my voice.

4) Can you name one thing that you like about the metronome on
When I practice in odd meters, it’s great to have a metronome where I can change the time signature and also group the meter into different subdivisions.

VIDEO: Check out Yvette’s full concert performance with guitarist extraordinaire Miroslav Tadic, focusing on music from the Balkans!